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Build report: Airfix’s 1/48 Spitfire Mk. 22/24

I don’t keep it a secret that the Spitfire is my all-time favorite airplane. I’ve always been a fan of the earlier Marks, principally up through the IX. Yet the more I read and research Spitfires, the more the later marks grow on me. Some folks don’t even consider the very last versions to even be a Spitfire anymore. But one look at the sprues for Airfix’s Mk. 22/24, and I got quite excited about the later “big tailed” Mk. 22/24.

This kit is one of the finest Airfix has ever produced, in my opinion. The quality of the casting and the overall fit is truly top of the line. In fact- it’s the same molds Eduard has used in their release of the this Mk. of the Spitfire, albeit with plenty of Eduard goodies thrown in to take things a step further.

Still, as an OOB build, Airfix’s kit is well detailed and quite a lot of fun. The only problems I had with the kit were purely self-induced… which the longer I model the more I find that to be the norm.

The cockpit is basic but reasonable- fairly plain IP, seat without belts, a few sidewall bits to glue on. The hinged side door is provided as a separate piece, and when completed, the detail is quite adequate for display.

The wing-to-fuselage fit requires either a fuselage spreader to close a small gap, or gluing the upper wings to the fuselage first. I used to consider this a flaw, but the more kits I build- even the “shake-n-bake” variety, I find that some amount of wing gap is always present. This kit has one that’s a bit larger than a Tamiya kit, for example, but with some basic modeling skills applied, it is closed up without a problem.

The overall fit before painting is good, and with sanding and some filler here and there, the exterior ends up nice and smooth. Again- I don’t consider a little filler and sanding a flaw- i do that to every kit, to make sure the gaps and seams are gone.

The self-induced problem I ran into came in when i painted the build. I was giving Tamiya paints a shot, and I was really pleased with how they flowed through my Badger airbrush. When I got to the dark green, I decided to thin it a bit more than I had been to see if it flowed even better.

Turns out it didn’t. In fact, the paint seemed to almost swell up and get fuzzy. Found out later that over-thinning acrylic paint will cause that…. some molecular adhesion stuff, rip in the space-time continuum or something.

I got frustrated with it, to be honest, sanded it down a bit, and thought that took care of it. I added the decals- typical of Airfix decals- adequate but a bit thick, and sealed it all with Future. I guess the paint had not properly cured or something, and the problem just sort of popped out again.

(By the way- three sets of markings are provided. One for the 22, and two for the 24.)

My modeling philosophy is “have fun- always”, so I just hit it with dull coat and placed it on the shelf.

The kit itself I highly recommend. It’s a great looking model of the late Spitfires. You can still find the Airfix kit on Ebay, and it’s on Squadron.com for $25. The Eduard release is $50… with all the P/E and resin though, it’s not a bad buy if priced seperately. Either way- you won’t be disappointed.

Just don’t over-thin your paint….

(Update… I did this build in 2008. I built another one of these in 2012, and had much better results. You can read about it here.)

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